EXCLUSIVE: Fitflop holds global step challenge for 200 staff worldwide


EXCLUSIVE: Global shoe retail organisation Fitflop is holding a global step challenge for its 200 employees in seven countries to improve employee health and wellbeing.

The challenge, which started on 9 October 2017, was set up by the organisation’s employee feel good champions as part of Fitflop’s overall wellbeing strategy. The feel good champions, who are employee wellbeing ambassadors, were appointed in May 2017 to help set up new wellbeing-based initiatives for staff.

The global step challenge has been designed to allow participating employees to virtually walk from the organisation’s Putney site in the UK to its office in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, crossing all of Fitflop’s global operating sites on the way. This includes the US, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany.

All of Fitflop’s global employees have been placed in teams of between nine and 11 staff members, with 19 teams participating in total. The majority of the feel good champions are team captains, with the job of motivating their team members and keeping track of their team’s individual step totals. Each team consists of an employee from each operating country and from each department, with no one within the teams directly working together on a day-to-day basis.

The overall goal of the challenge is to reach the end destination of the route as quickly as possible as an organisation, with the individual team that reaches the end first, rewarded with an extra day off.

Fitflop predicts that their employees will have covered the 20 million steps target by today (24 October 2017) or tomorrow (25 October 2017).

Since the challenge’s launch, both the organisation and team captains have been using internal social media platform Yammer to share motivational messages and advice in order to ensure communications reach the entire global workforce.

Employees are also able to track their progress, with a link posted in Yammer enabling staff to access a screen to view how far they’ve walked, what country they are near, and how many steps they have completed. The statistics for this are collected by the team captains and updated on a daily basis.

Anecdotal feedback from employees so far has seen an increase in walking meetings, exercising at lunchtime and employees taking up running or team sports with colleagues. Fitflop will be conducting a more conclusive feedback survey once the challenge is completed.

Laura Pearce, senior HR business partner at Fitflop, said: “It’s definitely part of wellbeing for us. Because we’ve got the feel good champions together this year, we’ve been really trying to put more of a focus on wellbeing. We’ve always done wellbeing [initiatives] and we’ve done steps challenges before, but this came about because there’s so much research now about how sitting is the new danger to your health. What we wanted to do was do something that got people together but also that encouraged people to move more at work, so the challenge has only been running Monday to Friday, it doesn’t run on weekends. So it is about trying to get people understanding the benefits of walking and moving more during the day.

“Another benefit [is] for people to have to learn how to work [and communicate] globally, because some people don’t deal with [employees] in other countries so it’s been a nice extra.”